Good day to you! Philip is continuing to recover from illness which leaves us the opportunity to take our annual look at where the current Premier League managers can be found in CM9798. Warning: The class of 2021 is not a vintage edition.
Arsenal – Mikel Arteta
There were times in the last 12 months where it seemed impossible that Mikel Arteta would still be the manager by the time this yearly tradition rolled around but here we are. Obviously, Arteta still isn’t in the game and what’s made matters worse is he (or at least the club) no longer employ Steve Bould, so I can’t even use him. They are frankly the most modern club around for staff, they don’t employ anybody at all on CM9798. The closest is Under 23 manager Kevin Betsy who was about to get a big move from non-league Woking to Fulham…but he didn’t get it in time. So we’re out.
Aston Villa – Steven Gerrard
This is already turning out to be anything but a vintage year – are we getting so old even the managers nowadays are too young to be players in 1997? Steven Gerrard recently took charge at Villa Park but it’s a year too soon for him. Instead here’s his faithful assistant Gary McAllister, who he played with at Liverpool. Gary Mac can be found at Coventry in 1997, one of their better players and learning everything he needs to know from Gordan Strachan.
Brentford – Thomas Frank
Oh look it’s another one not in the game. Thomas Frank had next to no playing career at a senior level so you’ll have to enjoy Brentford’s “Head of Individual Development” Steven Pressley. That seems like quite a big title for Steven Pressley.
Brighton – Graham Potter
Graham Potter hasn’t exactly taken the traditional route to Premier League management. Honing his skills in Sweden, he is now doing a good job at Brighton. Back in 1997, he was a young left back at West Brom.
He doesn’t really amount to much in game with very average stats but most importantly, he shares my birthday! In recent times he has taken on the nickname Hairy Potter after growing a beard. Good work.
Burnley – Sean Dyche
Voice of an angel Sean Dyche is up next. Flair of 16. Just let that sink in. Dyche was apparently quite the utility man in his day and was part of that Chesterfield team that made the FA Cup semi finals the previous season.
Again I’ve never really seen Dyche end up in management in the game but you’d be looking at 10 or so seasons for that.
Chelsea – Thomas Tuchel
Guess what? Thomas Tuchel wasn’t much of a player. He was playing in 1997/98 but at a German club outside of the top two leagues. The research for the German leagues is poor at best so the non-league sides have no chance. Instead, here’s his goalkeeper coach Hilario.
Crystal Palace – Patrick Vieira
Paddy! It’s a relief to see a manager playing in 97/98 at this rate. Vieira has the football world at his feet as a young man who will soon go and win the double and the World Cup in a pretty remarkable 12 months. He’s had a mixed time as a manager but has got off to a promising start as Crystal Palace manager. I’m just relieved it’s not Roy.
Everton – Rafa Benitez
As of this writing, Rafa Benitez is the Everton manager. This was never likely to work out and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is not the manager very soon. Anyway, in 1997 he’s just starting on his managerial journey with Extremadura.
Leeds United – Marcelo Bielsa
It’s a bit of a crime that Bielsa isn’t in CM9798 but he was at Velez Sarsfield and Argentinian club sides aren’t particularly well represented. His club staff are equally obscure so Leeds are the only team I can’t offer you anything for. Sorry.
Leicester City – Brendan Rodgers
There’s no Brendan Rodgers in game so…here is his goalkeeping coach, Mike Stowell.
Sorry Leicester fans, it is as good as I can do.
Liverpool – Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp is doing great things at Liverpool but as a defender in CM9798 he is average at best. That aggression of 10 is kind, we’ve all seen mad Klopp. Also stamina of 8 is ironic given his gegenpressing ways. Klopp did go on to manage Mainz which lead him to Dortmund where he really came to flourish as a coach.
Manchester City – Pep Guardiola
Guardiola was excellent as a player and somehow even better as a manager. He is quite possibly the best player we have in the list today. As you’d expect, creativity, passing and technique are all very high. What else can you say really?
Manchester United – Ralf Rangnick
Solskjaer’s dismissal was bad news for many reasons, not least because this list lost another easy name. Instead here’s current assistant manager Mike Phelan as Ralf Rangnick joins so many others in this list in not being on the game.
Newcastle United – Eddie Howe
Young Eddie is an upgrade on Steve Bruce but he has his work cut out to try and steer the Magpies from the bottom of the table. In 1997 he’s only 19 so hopefully a staple of the list for many years to come – especially if he keeps Newcastle up.
Norwich City – Dean Smith
Setting a record for the shortest time between Premier League jobs, Dean Smith was sacked by Aston Villa and turned up at Norwich during the same International break. In 1997/98 he’s part of the promising Leyton Orient team with high influence showing early management signs.
Southampton – Ralph Hassenhuttl
I really didn’t expect to find Ralph Hasenhuttl in the database…especially not at Lierse in Belgium. I’m quite impressed by him, in that he is some sort of creative beanpole target man.
I guess he is 6 foot 3 so I suspect he was good in the air in his day. He played for Tom Reed’s Austria in our Euro 2020 last year..
Tottenham Hotspur – Antonio Conte
Conte’s back! The former Chelsea manager has returned to London to manage Tottenham and whilst it’s early days so far, it is fair to say he has a job on. Incidentally he replaced Nuno who is a goalkeeper at Porto. Conte though is an Italian international midfielder at Juventus so a very fine player approaching his peak.
Watford – Claudio Ranieri
Ranieri has been a manager forever of every club. He can be found at Valencia in 97/98 but will apparently leave you in a flash for Cagliari.
West Ham – David Moyes
Everybody’s favourite in-game error
Glaswegian David Moyes is a 34 year old Englishman here. He can head a ball though. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him become a manager in the game though. He’s doing a great job at West Ham.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – Bruno Lage
It’s a debut in this column for Bruno Lage, the latest manager who seems to have decided from the age of 20 he’d be a coach. He is not on CM9798 as a result and so the best I can offer you is goalkeeper coach Tony Roberts, who you’ll find at QPR.
That’s the managers done but is anybody still playing from CM9798?
The most obvious one is Gianluigi Buffon, who is just making his way at Parma in game. He is actually back at Parma now to presumably finish his career, so that’s nice.
Another favourite, albeit a little less conventional is Kazuyoshi Miura in Japan. He’s 30 in the game but 54 in real life but is still turning out for Yokohama FC. 275 appearances in 15 years does not exactly equate to being a regular any longer but at 53, I think it’s great he’s still trying.
That’s it for the professionals though, previous stalwarts of this list such as Bywater, Hughes and Keane have all called it a day. I imagine there are a lot more at non-league level, such as Jamie Cureton who is player-manager at Enfield
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